My Illlustrated Travel Journal with Essays about Roman and Mediaeval History and some Geology


27.4.16
  Spring in the Meissner Mountains

I've posted some photos of the Meissner mountains taken in autumn some time ago. Here is a bunch I took two weeks ago, with the first buds of spring appearing on the trees.

Meissner mountains, juniper heath near Rossbach

I'm still having a busy time at work. I hope it will be better soon so I'll have the time to write some longer posts that require research. It's not that I'm running out of landscape photos, but I suspect my readers will get bored if there's not some castle soon. ;-)

A view into the valley

The scenery for this post was taken on the juniper heath near a village called Rossbach in the Meissner foothills. One of the Premium hiking paths is leading through this landscape. The Premiums hiking ways are mostly natural paths that are kept free from obstacles and well equipped with signposts. There are also maps so you can plan tours ahead.

Juniper heath with birches

The areas with juniper heath are interspesed with calcareous grasslands, fields, and grazing meadows down in the valleys. In summer, some rare orchids will bloom on the calcareous grasslands. I'll plan to return for another tour when the heather is in bloom - the hills should look lovely then.

Another - slightly obscured - view into the valley

There is some forest as well, and a river that gets lost. *grin* Since the rock ground in that area is limestone and gypsum kalk, the brook seeps into some particularly porous bit of ground. That itself is not so unusual in limestone formations, but the brook doesn't reappear anywhere - like for example the Rhume Springs - and that is unusual.

A gnarled tree

The limestone dates back to the zechstein time when this part of Germany had been a shallow sea that stretched from eastern England to northern Poland, an area that was known as the European Permian Basin - back then located near the equator. That was 298-252 million years ago. The zechstein is a sedimentary rock as result of layers of calcareous marine fauna pressed together.

A shrubbery dividing some fields

The Zechstein Sea was also responsible for the vast layers of halite (rock salt) that can be found in Germany and Poland. The salt domes around Lüneburg which played a role in the rise of the Hanseatic League in the Middle Ages belong to that strata. Salt can also be found at Werra and Leine where it comes close to the surface in some places.

More juniper heath on the other side of the village

The grassland parts of the landscape are kept open by sheep who are herded to grazing regularly. The area is an interesting mix of natural habitats and man made parts like fields and cherry orchards (the whole area is famous for its cherries). The landscape has developed that way for hundreds of years and is now a nature reserve despite its partial agricultural use.

Juniper tree gate

Karst landscapes like the ones in the north-eastern foothills of the Meissner can also be found in the southern foothills of the Harz (I explained the Zechstein Sea in a bit more detail in that post).

A view towards Rossbach

And finally a nice view towards the village of Rossbach on a sunny spring afternoon.

 


11.4.16
  Spring Impressions from the Danube

Life is a bit busy right now so here's another short picture post with spring photos, this time from the Danube.

View of the Danube from Castle Donaustauf

Castle Donaustauf, a formidable ruin, is situated at the Danube near Regensburg. Both the castle and the view were worth the climb albeit Regensburg in the background was hidden by the morning haze.

Shores of the Danube near Regensburg

I took a two hours mini cruise on the Danube to rest my feet after walking on cobblestones for hours. I love those little boat trips.

Traffic on the Danube

There is a fair bit of traffic on the Danube, though not as much as on the Rhine, at least not this far upriver. There is likely more downriver from Vienna to the Black Sea.

A side arm of the river

Sometimes the river branches off, either to form a peninsula, a bayou, or an abandoned meander, though the latter often have been filled in to make the river easier to navigate.

Spring blossoms

Spring was well on its way in early May.

The shore with castle Donaustauf in the background

A peek of castle Donaustauf from the cruise ship.

Closeup of castle Donaustauf

And a closeup of the castle with the remaining interior of the chapel painted in white.

The Walhalla

The Walhalla. No, not the Norse warrior heaven, though it's named after it. King Ludwig I of Bavaria (the grandfather of 'Mad King' Ludwig) built it in 1842 to commemorate important people of German culture and history. They a represented inside the Greek style temple by busts and tablets.

Against the sun

A nice view against the afternoon sun on the way back to Regensburg.

Interior of the ship

The interior of the ship, the Crystal Queen. Yes, she's decorated with Svarovsky crystals all over (including the bathrooms). The Regensburg Danube fleet has two of those sparkly ships.

Upriver towards Regensburg

Returning to Regensburg. Part of the town's Danube harbour can be spotted to the left.

The Danube, seen from castle Donaustauf

Another haze veiled view of the Danube from castle Donaustauf.
 


The Lost Fort is a travel journal and history blog based on my travels in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and other places. It includes essays on Roman and Mediaeval history, as well as some geology, illustrated with photos of old castles and churches, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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Location: Germany

I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who hasn't yet gotten an Instagram account. :-)


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